Pat Robertson can easily be characterized as a loose cannon. He frequently says things apparently without thinking them through for biblical truthfulness or even common sense. Many of them are essentially harmless and easily ignored. Some of them however beg for a response. In that way, Pat is kind of like the “crazy uncle” that you probably wished didn’t belong to your family because he always seems to find a way to embarrass you at the family reunion or in some public setting. Compound this tendency with a whole segment of his show that encourages him to “shoot from the hip” every episode and you have a recipe for disaster of some sort. Pat’s latest rambling is one that needs a response.
There is already a serious cultural slide in place when it comes to things regarding marriage. Pat is supposedly one of the champions of marriage as a God-ordained institution. So it is disappointing to see him treat it so casually in this instance. It boils down to a simple question. When do we take the words of Jesus seriously?
In Matthew 19, Jesus is discussing divorce with the religious leaders of His day.
They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” – Matthew 19:7-9 (ESV)
Jesus states point blank that this one provision for divorce from God is only given because we are hard-hearted about the things of God in the first place. We are given to selfishness and self-serving behavior. In God’s view, adultery is a non-starter. You have made a vow before God and you should keep it. Jesus gives a single case as reason for divorce – sexual immorality. Pat’s not the only one softening the reasons for divorce in the evangelical community, and I have the same problem with other pastors and such who pretend that Jesus didn’t put an easily understood teaching in place for this subject.
What really gets me with Pat is the interchange with the co-host. She brings up the “in sickness and in health” part of the vows. Rather than backtrack on what he so hastily has thrown out there he simply forges ahead and calls Alzheimer’s a “kind of death.” I have known many loved ones with this disease. It is hard to live with and through, but it is still living. The last thing we need is someone who is identified as a minister of the gospel to start cheapening life and equating it with death.
I am not out to question Robertson’s salvation, merely his sanity. And I am not here to cast judgment on him, rather to point him back to the source of correct judgments (as if he would ever read what I have written here). He apparently thinks of himself as an “ethicist” or something based on another comment in this segment of his show. If he is willing to relinquish the title of minister of the gospel for that lesser calling, I will cut him all the slack in the world. But if you wish to speak for the name of Christ, you will be held to a higher standard; particularly if you wish to be a teacher or leader (James 3:1)